Baseball Cards Investment Beating Stocks

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High quality collectibles have been kicking your stock portfolio’s backside.

While those who like to invest in baseball cards prowl the mammoth barn that is the I-X Center in Cleveland this weekend, others are content to stick with the more traditional options.

It’s not a news flash that investing in the stock market did not have positive results in 2008, however. In fact, a new Wall Street Journal report indicates that while good stocks tend to bring back a fairly positive return over the long haul, even the last ten years have been nothing to write home about.

The market’s record has elevated collectibles to a new plateau as investors look for something new.

A recent study by Birinyi Associates show Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index has gained 10% on an annual, compounded basis since 1970. While that might be better than diamonds (3%), farmland (6.5%) and U.S. homes (5.8%), it couldn’t match the 16% from emerging-market shares as investors looked to new overseas markets for growth. All of them, though, were trumped by some high-end collectibles.

Babe Ruth baseball cards and autographs remain the gold standard–available to the masses on some level as long as you have a fair amount of disposable income.

The T206 Honus Wagner baseball card graded PSA 8 has climbed 9,900% since 1985. Stamp collecting’s version of the Wagner, the famous “Inverted Jenny” is up almost 500% this decade.

A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle in high grade is worth many times what collectors paid even in the late 1990s. Mantle autographs, once available for $20 at card shows in the late 1980s, are now worth hundreds. The market for virtually all pre-World War I baseball and football cards has matured.

Not every card has increased in value, of course. The key is to have the funds available to invest in the best quality items and find collectibles that are extremely low in supply and high in demand.

While there are no guarantees when you enter the baseball card investment world, you can bet that many of the top grade cards being purchased this weekend in Cleveland, will be worth more at the 2015 National.


Graded baseball cards on eBay